Principal Forum in the Greater China Region advocates nurturing global citizens with liberal arts education
The Principal Forum in the Greater China Region, co-organised by Lingnan University, Hong Kong Principals Professional Development Association, Yan Chai Hospital Board, Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, Hong Kong Primary School Leaders Association and sponsored by the Tin Ka Ping Foundation, was held on 6 December at the campus of Lingnan.
The Forum, with the theme “Promoting Global Citizens and Liberal Arts Education”, is one of the celebration activities for the 50th Anniversary of Lingnan University’s re-establishment in Hong Kong, as well as an event that marks the Golden Jubilee of the Yan Chai Hospital Board. A total of about 180 international higher education experts and principals and education professionals from primary and secondary schools in the Greater China region participated in the Forum, who discussed on how to nurture global citizens through liberal arts education.
An appointment ceremony for advisors of the President of Lingnan University was also held at the event. A total of 21 principals from secondary and primary schools in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Taiwan were appointed as advisors to the President of Lingnan University. They will provide opinions on the University’s future development and education endeavours.
Officiating guest of the Forum Mr Tim Lui Tim-leung, Chairman of the Education Commission, pointed out in his speech that apart from teaching students to become virtuous and knowledgeable, nowadays education also need to cultivate students’ international horizon as well as cross-cultural learning and communications abilities so that they can become forward-looking global citizens. He encouraged attending education professionals to continue devoting their efforts in enhancing the quality of education in the entire Greater China region, and nurture progressive global citizens.
The Forum comprised keynote speeches, principals’ dialogue and parallel discussion sessions. Prof Leonard K Cheng, President of Lingnan University delivered a keynote speech at the Forum with the topic “Liberal Arts Education: Nurturing Caring Leaders for Uncertain Futures”. He pointed out that development of new knowledge and new techniques at an explosive speed resulted in an increase in uncertainty for the future development of society. From the perspective of talent training, the result of an uncertain future is that in their entire career lives, people need to learn new knowledge and master new techniques continuously in order to adapt to the new environment. Therefore future leaders must possess very strong adaptability and learning ability so that they can master new challenges and seize new opportunities.
“Apart from industry knowledge and techniques, leaders need to possess analytical ability, communications skills, creativity, decision making and execution abilities, professional ethics, as well as social empathy. In summary, what we need are generalists who have all-round knowledge and abilities,” said President Cheng. He indicated that liberal arts education is an effective education pedagogy for whole person development, with the objective of training students to identify and solve problems so that they can adopt quickly when exposed to new environments. Therefore as industries and job skills are changing and becoming more diversified, the advantage of liberal arts education will become even more obvious.
Another keynote speaker Prof Andy Green, UCL Institute of Education gave a keynote speech on the topic “The Effects of Upper Secondary Education and Training Systems on Literacy and Numeracy Skills Inequality”. At parallel discussion sessions, participants exchanged experience and ideas on issues covering positive education, parenting education, “Belt and Road” strategy and its implication on education development, practice of liberal arts education, youth social mobility and perpetuation of Chinese culture. The Forum has successfully promoted broader collaboration in the Greater China region in the area of education.